Avian influenza spreads in British Columbia; 7 farms affected
The H5N2 avian influenza outbreak in the Canadian province of British Columbia has continued to spread, as the virus has now been detected at seven farms. A total of 155,000 birds have died of the virus or will be culled, according to the Canadian Food Inspection Agency.
The World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) on December 3 reported that avian influenza had been confirmed in two British Columbia farms. One was a turkey farm in Abbotsford and the other was a broiler breeding facility in Chilliwack. Since that time, avian influenza has been detected at five other nearby farms, bringing the total to seven.
Each affected farm has been placed under quarantine.
"The identification of additional farms is not unexpected, given that avian influenza is highly contagious," Harpreet Kochhar, Canada's chief veterinary officer, told reporters.
The cause of the outbreak has not yet been determined, but officials are looking into the possibility that it may have been started by migrating birds.
The outbreak has prompted a number of countries to put trade restrictions on Canadian poultry and poultry products. Among those countries are the United States, Mexico, South Africa, Japan, Taiwan, Singapore and South Korea.
Avian influenza has been a big concern for the poultry industry within the past three months, with other outbreaks occurring in The Netherlands, U.K., Germany, Japan, India and Vietnam.